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Newsletter | Sep/Oct 2018

Volume 46:5 | Search

If you would like to see corrections to this newsletter or to submit articles or suggestions for future newsletters please contact the Newsletter Editor at newsletter@owa-usa.org.

In this issue:

Member Spotlight :: Hannah Chatham

by Hannah Chatham    |    Share #1318


1. What book has changed how you look at the world and why? Biomimicry by Janie Benyus. Her insightful explaining of natural systems and how those might be applied to design fields was and is incredibly inspiring to me, and seemed to make sense as a design approach. If you have not heard of Biomimicry it is is a design approach that seeks natural solutions (products, processes, policies) to human challenges by using nature's patterns and strategies.


2. How has someone’s mentoring made a difference in your life or career?
I have an Auntie who is an incredibly strong woman and confident person. Her love for me and straightforward talk with me about work and life has encouraged me to be strong and confident myself. She also instilled in me a level of excellence in everything I do, for which I will always be grateful.

3. What is your next big goal for yourself, personally or professionally?
One of my next goals for myself professionally is to work with the alternative building group Earthship Biotecture in Taos, New Mexico.

4. In a parallel life, what would be your line of work and why?Musician and painter. My love for those two things runs deep and makes me come alive!

5. What has changed since you started in your field?
I am currently working as an "environmental graphic designer" on the Wayfinding Enhancement Program at San Francisco Airport. I have mostly worked in various fields of graphic design but have training in industrial design as well. In the consumer market, I have noticed a shift towards less waste, more green/sustainable materials and practices and acknowledgement we cannot create plastic goods forever, etc . This seems to be a good sign.

6. Has your career path been shaped by being a woman, and how?
Interesting question. I seek fulfillment and meaning in my work, relational stability and a sense of contribution (are those female characteristics?) I tend to not ask for pay raises as easily as my male counterparts. I have taken jobs based on my level of interest in the work and level of positive team culture. I seek out other female professionals to compare and contrast my experiences. In summary, I don't think my path is necessarily a female one, but how I go about making my decisions is shaped by my perspective as a woman.

PAST EVENT: #me too and you event

by Bridget Basham    |    Share #1306



On Saturday, July 14, 2018, OWA presented #me too and you, hosted at Gould Evans' new community-based event space in San Francisco. The day was supported by both AIASF and AIAEB with generous sponsorship from Dunn Edwards Paint Company and 3Form, who provided lunch for the day-long event.

OWA's Spring Friedlander and Bridget Basham, with the help of the other Steering Committee members, programmed the day which aimed at establishing a safe environment to share experiences and to empower women and minorities with respect to their working lives.

Photo By Maryam Moayery Nia


Natalie Riccomini celebrated Cahill's Site Superintendent Bart Fockler. Together with Jack Gardner, from Non-profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH), these two Champions of Change were recognized for supporting and consciously promoting women and minorities into leadership positions.

Fifteen years ago, the NPH Board was made up with only one person of color. Today, their Board is 60% people of color and almost 50% women. An admirable result compared to 3 years ago when the Board was only 25% people of color and less than 40% women.

Melissa Jones, Poet, Singer and Songwriter read several of her poems which marked a serious shift in focus; these acknowledged the violence and oppression, which particularly women of color endure. The theme continued as a long-time OWA member, (whose identity will remain undisclosed), shared her story that chronicled real obstacles, systematic of institutional bias, to her assuming a leadership role for which she was qualified.

Photo by Maryam Moayery Nia


To kick things off, Bridget introduced the concept of "Male Champions of Change” a Gender Equity issue of international social and economic importance involving leaders who are wiling to step up, collaborate, listen, learn and lead with action."

Photo By Maryam Moayery Nia


The day underscored the importance of creating opportunities that celebrate one another, and empower us to confidently move toward our rightful positions within our professional realms and within society. Being aware of the context we work in is helpful. The hope is that these important conversations are continued at OWA's Monthly Mixers and focused events in 2019.

Photo By Maryam Moayery Nia


Then OWA's Helen Vasquez screened Abby Wamboch's powerful address to women: Women are feared as a threat to our system - and we will also be our society's salvation... We are the ones we have been waiting for.

Throughout the day, attendees encouraged one another to be more confident in discussing these issues within professional environments and to continually advocate for themselves, as-well-as for other women and minorities.


Photo By Maryam Moayery Nia


Annual Retreat 2018 : Celebration of 45 Years and Why OWA+DP Matters

by Rachel Sloniki    |    Share #1311


Group Photo By Helen Vasquez

The OWA+DP retreat began with a welcome reception by the pool. Judy Rowe provided appetizers and beautiful name tags. Members reconnected and met new attendees including students from USF, an architect from Mendocino, Debra Lennox and other colleagues who we invited to join our organization. In our Friday evening circle, members highlighted other members who were significant to them, and new members introduced themselves and their design inspirations.

Saturday morning, Hana Mori Böttger organized presentations from a roster of speakers. The brilliant presentations by our members included Conyee Chan, Sandya Sood, and Christie Coffin sharing images from their work overseas on international projects. Bridget Basham, Debra Lennox, Judy Corbett, Leslie Moldow, Janet Crane, Leslie Golden, Frances Kwong, Andrea Lucas, Judy Rowe, Helen Vasquez, Judith Wasserman, Cameron White, and Betty Woo shared stories of their local and national projects, of members who contributed to their careers, and what OWA has meant to them personally and professionally. Jean Nilsson described her book project to document the organization’s history, and shared slides juxtaposing events in her own career with history of OWA and other activism in architecture. Gilda Puente Peters highlighted thoughtful, accessibility elements from and OWA+DP Lighthouse for the Blind Tour. Hana Mori Böttger delighted us with a violin piece.

Sandya Sood invited Monsoon Dance Company to teach us Bollywood dancing in preparation for the band, Piyush Nagar, Aanal Anjaria, and Hina Patel who played later in the evening. The dance classes were well taught and fun to learn, aerobics and new dance skills combined together. In the afternoon art project, members created succulent planters. Gilda Puente Peters, Ann Wright, and Betty Woo brought 900 succulent plants they had grown over the previous year in preparation for the art project. As Betty Woo described the design concept for the planter, “you have to have a thriller, a filler, and a spiller.”

Allison Kinst presented an OWA+DP timeline, which was displayed throughout the retreat, chronicling the history of OWA within a greater context of the history of women in the field. Various members added their significant events and memories associated with our organization and its members.

Late afternoon, Jean Nilsson moderated a panel to discuss the organization’s history, its present and future. Thank you to panelists Marda Stothers, Kriss Rupauch, Koje Shoraka, Naomi Horowitz, Helen Vasquez, and architecture student Jennifer Otsuki, who represented the decades of the organization, for sharing their stories and OWA activities from the 1970s to today. Other members joined in, enriching the conversation, and Jean invited all those interested to contact her to contribute to her book to be published for the 50th anniversary.

At the Saturday dinner, we sang Happy Birthday for OWA+DP’s 45th anniversary, then danced and visited throughout the evening, closing by walking the labyrinth. Sunday morning, we convened for a discussion with the steering committee on this year’s and future years’ events and solicited planners for next year’s retreat. We wound down the retreat with Lisa Murray, Yoga Community, who shared Yin yoga with us.

Photo By Betty Woo


Photo By Betty Woo


PAST EVENT: Annual Business Meeting

by Maryam Moayery NIa    |    Share #1303


The Steering Committee would like to thank all the members who attended this year's business meeting on Tuesday , October 9th. The major topics of this year's meeting were approving next year's budge, electing new Steering Committee members and reports from each Steering Committee member regarding their work for the organization this year.

We would love to thank the following members who will be ending their Steering Committee terms this year. We are grateful for all the hard work they have put into the organization: Spring Friedlander, Helen Vasquez, Conyee Chan and Hannah Chatham. two of our current SC members will continue next year: Bridget Basham and Maryam Moayery Nia.

We had 5 members who have volunteered to serve on the steering committee for the next two years. We are excited to welcome new members to the Steering Committee: Leslie Golden, Betty Woo, Carolyne Orazi, Allison Kinst and Claire Hansen.Please read their statements below to learn a little bit more about them.



Steering Committee Candidate Statements

 Share #1317


Allison Kinst
I've been a member of OWA+DP since 2013 and I was a member of the 2014-2015 Steering Committee. I would be honored to serve again on the OWA+DP Steering Committee for 2019-2020.

I’ve spent most of my life in California, growing up in the East Bay before moving to Southern California for college. I attended the University of California Irvine where I earned Bachelor's degrees in Environmental Analysis and Design, and Psychology. After undergrad, I attended the University of Oregon where I earned a Master of Architecture degree. I moved to China in April 2012 to take a job with an architecture firm in Beijing working on multi-family housing, urban design projects and design competitions. After a year in Beijing I returned to the Bay Area and worked at an environmental graphics firm, and then spent four years working at an architecture firm focused on multi-family housing. This spring I started a new job at Mithun Solomon in San Francisco where I am currently working on two student housing projects for UCLA.

At my first OWA+DP retreat In 2013 I volunteered to be on the Steering Committee, and served as the Policies and Procedures Coordinator for 2014-2015. My duties were to organize and run the Steering Committee meetings, assist any other SC members with any questions about procedural issues, and chair the annual OWA+DP business meetings. As PPC I also researched and set up our board insurance for the SC, and organized the OWA+DP visioning retreat held in February 2016. I have also volunteered for the OWA+DP retreat committee organizing the art project in 2016 and helping with the retreat program in 2018.

As an SC member my priorities would be building on the great work of our current SC to increase our public relations efforts and expand the programs we offer throughout the year. I also would like to work on increasing the diversity of our membership, reaching out to young students considering design careers, and improving the ability of the SC to transition smoothly from year to year. Being a part of OWA has meant so much to me, it has really helped me grow personally and professionally and I have made so many wonderful memories and built so many great friendships through my involvement with OWA+DP. I strongly believe in the importance of the OWA+DP’s mission and the support it offers our community. I would be honored to have the opportunity to give back to this incredible organization, by serving on the Steering Committee for 2019-2020.

Betty Woo
This letter is to express my desire to serve on the Steering Committee of the OWA-DP for the 2019-2020 term. I am a licensed architect and for the past 16 years have owned an architectural firm in Davis, CA. Although I joined OWA shortly after attending my first retreat over 20 years ago, the long drive from Davis and my busy sole proprietorship has caused me to miss most meetings. Consequently, I have never served on the steering committee. I have served on a few OWA committees, including committees for the 30th and 40th anniversary celebrations. Along with Gilda Puente Peters and other committee members I helped plan both the 30th and 40th Anniversary Celebrations and Gala. I also worked on the 40th anniversary Mediterranean Cruise.

Over the years, it has been my privilege to enjoy the fellowship, talents and hard work of our OWA colleagues. The richness the OWA-DP has added to my life is incalculable. As I reduce my workload in preparation for retirement, I hope to have more time to give back to the organization that has given me so much and to serve on the Steering Committee.

Carolyne Orazi
I hold a degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Washington. I have worked in both landscape architecture as well as architecture firms as a designer, however, most of my working experience has been in architecture firms. My architecture experience is in multifamily residential and in large commercial projects. I am currently studying for the ARE exams.

I served on the Steering Committee twice before and had a very positive experience. I was inspired to volunteer again because I was encouraged by the wonderful energy I felt at the Retreat. I am looking forward to serving the OWADP again.

Claire Hansen
I was a student at University of San Francisco, when Hana Bottger suggest I attend the OWA retreat, that was in 2015. I graduated in 2016. I currently work at Dumican Mosey Architects as the admin assistant/junior designer. Attending this year’s retreat reignited my passion to learn everything I can from everyone who’s open to teaching and peaked my interested in volunteering on the Steering Committee.

I’m a highly detail-oriented person and enjoy tracking and organizing information. I have an interest in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of systems. With a role on the steering committee, I hope to bring those skills, along with a new perspective towards methods of communications for news, activists, events.

It amazes me that OWA has been around for 45 years, yet it very new to me. I look forward to familiarizing myself more with the organization and the members. I hope to become an active member of this supportive community.

Leslie Golden
The OwA is such a wonderful resource for women. I want to be there to continue the support of women professionals

I recognize now I have the time, energy, resilience, experience and desire to help the next generation of women professionals and that the existing committee members need to focus more on their careers rather than extending their steering committee commitments to the Owa.
Focus Areas
1) end of firm transition planning, buying into a firm or selling. Interior or exterior transition planning. Presentation by attorney and maybe moderated by me.
2) contract documents. I have an attorney willing to research specific issues and present on an area of concern to members.
3) mentoring small business development

Donation to Hamilton Family!

by Maryam Moayery NIa    |    Share #1314


Similar to previous holiday seasons, OWA will support Hamilton Family Center. Established in 1985, Hamilton Families is San Francisco’s leading service provider to homeless families, with carefully designed programs to prevent homelessness, provide shelter and stability, return families to permanent housing and support the well-being of children experiencing homelessness.

This year, we are honored to have been matched with two families! Please click on Wishlist and fill it before holiday party for any gift you would like to purchase and bring the gift to the party.

If you have any problem opening the link please contact Maryam Moayery Nia or Helen Vasquez.

The most important thing is please label your gift with the number and the name of the person requesting it.


Upcoming event :: Now What?! Advocacy, Activism & Alliances in American Architecture since 1968

 Share #1315


Traveling Exhibition Highlighting the History of Activism in Architecture to Open in San Francisco

November 29–December 14, 2018

California College of the Arts
Hubbell Street Galleries
161 Hubbell St, San Francisco, CA, 94107


Free and open to the public
Opening reception: Thursday, November 29, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Gallery hours: Mon.-Fri., 12:00-5:00 p.m.;
Thurs., 12:00-7:30 p.m.;
Closed Saturday & Sunday

Now What?! is the first exhibition to examine the little-known history of architects and designers working to further the causes of the civil rights, women’s, and LGBTQ movements of the past fifty years. The exhibition content, conversations, and stories will inspire a new generation of design professionals to see themselves as agents of change by looking at the past to see new ways forward.

An exhibition by ArchiteXX, curated by Lori Brown, Andrea J. Merrett, Sarah Rafson, and Roberta Washington.

For more information contact Sarah , 412-418-7133




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